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United States Court of Appeals

Tenth Circuit

June 8, 2007
Elisabeth A. Shumaker
Clerk of Court

United States A ttorney General,

No. 06-9554
(No. A79-494-656)
(Petition for Review)



Before BR ISC OE, SE YM OU R, and A ND ER SO N, Circuit Judges.

Petitioner Ismaila Yero challenges the Board of Immigration Appeals

(BIAs) order denying his motion to reopen the proceedings. Specifically, he
contests the BIAs findings that he was not diligent in moving to reopen and that
he failed to meet the requirements for asserting an ineffective-assistance-ofcounsel claim. W e deny the petition.

After examining the briefs and appellate record, this panel has determined
unanimously to grant the parties request for a decision on the briefs without oral
argument. See Fed. R. App. P. 34(f); 10th Cir. R. 34.1(G). The case is therefore
ordered submitted without oral argument. This order and judgment is not binding
precedent, except under the doctrines of law of the case, res judicata, and
collateral estoppel. It may be cited, however, for its persuasive value consistent
with Fed. R. App. P. 32.1 and 10th Cir. R. 32.1.

M r. Yero is a native and citizen of M auritania. H e entered this country in
April 2001, but was not admitted or paroled after inspection. In August 2001, he
applied for asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the Convention
Against Torture, claiming persecution due to his Fulani ethnicity. The former
Immigration and Naturalization Service ordered that he appear for a hearing,
where his application was ultimately denied.
M r. Yero then appealed to the BIA, which affirmed without opinion on
October 5, 2004. Thirty-five days later, on November 9, 2004, he filed in this
court a petition for review . After several weeks, M r. Yero moved this court to
accept the late filing of his petition, see 8 U.S.C. 1252(b)(1) (requiring that the
petition be filed not later than 30 days after the date of the final order of
removal), citing errors made by the courier company hired to file the petition,
Yero v. Ashcroft, No. 04-9606, M ot. to Accept Late Filing at 1 (10th Cir. Nov. 29,
2004). On April 29, 2005, this court dismissed the petition as untimely.
On August 15, 2005, M r. Yeros attorney, Sharon Healey, who had been
representing him since the removal hearing, filed with the BIA a motion to
reopen [M r. Yeros] case and re-enter [the] order denying his appeal in order to
restart the 30 day period for filing the petition for review in the Tenth Circuit
Court of Appeals. Supp. Admin. R. at 14. M s. Healey argued that she was
ineffective in filing the petition late. The BIA denied the motion, ruling that M s.

Healey (1) had not acted diligently in seeking to reopen the case; and (2) had not
complied with two of the three requirements for asserting an ineffectiveassistance-of-counsel claim under M atter of Lozada, 19 I. & N. Dec. 637 (BIA
M r. Y ero, through attorney Healey, now petitions this court for review,
arguing that the period in which to seek reopening was equitably tolled and that
Lozadas requirements are not sacrosanct. Petr Br. at 4 (quotation omitted).
W e review the BIAs denial of a motion to reopen for abuse of
discretion. Huerta v. Gonzales, 443 F.3d 753, 757 (10th Cir. 2006). The BIA
abuses its discretion when its decision provides no rational explanation,
inexplicably departs from established policies, is devoid of any reasoning, or
contains only summary or conclusory statements. Galvez Pineda v. Gonzales,
427 F.3d 833, 838 (10th Cir. 2005) (quotation omitted).
I. Equitable Tolling
A motion to reopen must be filed no later than 90 days after the date on
which the final administrative decision was rendered. 8 C.F.R. 1003.2(c)(2).
Here, M r. Yeros motion was filed 314 days after the BIAs affirmance of his
removal. Nevertheless, M s. Healey asserts that the 90-day period was equitably
tolled until M r. Yero learned that she was ineffective, which purportedly occurred
w hen this court dismissed the petition for review.

Equitable tolling is available only if the alien has exercised due diligence in
pursuing the case during the requested tolling period. See M ahamat v. Gonzales,
430 F.3d 1281, 1283 (10th Cir. 2005). The BIA found that M s. Healey did not
diligently seek reopening, as she knew the courier company had filed the petition
late, but instead of moving to reopen at that point, she elected to pursue the
untimely petition. W e agree that M s. Healey did not exercise due diligence.
This courts jurisdiction is dependent upon the timely filing of a petition
for review. See Infanzon v. Ashcroft, 386 F.3d 1359, 1361 (10th Cir. 2004). The
jurisdictional bar against untimely petitions is mandatory, not subject to
equitable tolling, and avoidable only in unique circumstances not present here,
such as when a judicial officer specifically assures the party that he or she has
properly acted to postpone the filing deadline. Nahatchevska v. Ashcroft,
317 F.3d 1226, 1227 (10th Cir. 2003) (quotations omitted). Given the obvious
jurisdictional defect in M r. Yeros petition and the availability of a motion to
reopen with the BIA, it was not diligent for M s. Healey to wait for this court to
act on the jurisdictional defect before moving to reopen. See Galvez Pineda,
427 F.3d at 839 (holding that aliens reliance on a flawed petition in this court
that led them to forgo a motion to reopen at the outset did not establish the
requisite diligence for equitable tolling, as [r]emovable aliens are not permitted
to delay matters by pursuing multiple avenues of relief seriatim when no reason


suggests why they could not be pursued simultaneously). The BIA did not abuse
its discretion in refusing to equitably toll the 90-day limitations period. 1
II. Ineffective Assistance of Counsel
The BIA also determined that M s. Healey failed to comply with two of the
three requirements for asserting an ineffective-assistance-of-counsel claim on
behalf of M r. Yero.
Under M atter of Lozada, a motion based on a claim of
ineffective assistance of counsel must be supported by (1) the
aggrieved partys affidavit setting forth the agreement that was
entered into with . . . counsel and what counsel did or did not
represent to the respondent in this regard; (2) evidence that . . .
counsel was informed of the allegations and allowed the opportunity
to respond; and (3) evidence the aggrieved party filed a complaint
with appropriate disciplinary authorities, and if not, why not.
M ickeviciute v. INS, 327 F.3d 1159, 1161 n.2 (10th Cir. 2003). Here, there is no
affidavit from M r. Yero, and M s. Healey indicated that she did not report the late
filing to disciplinary authorities.
M s. Healey maintains that strict compliance with Lozada is unnecessary.
She cites Ninth Circuit case law allowing ineffective-assistance claims to proceed
on substantial compliance when the purpose of Lozada is fully served by other
means. Rojas-G arcia v. Ashcroft, 339 F.3d 814, 824-25 (9th Cir. 2003)

Even if the limitations period were equitably tolled until this court
dismissed M r. Yeros petition as untimely on April 29, 2005, M s. Healey still did
not file the motion to reopen within 90 days. Although M s. Healey attempted to
file a motion to reopen on July 12, 2005 within 90 days from this courts
dismissal the motion was rejected for failure to pay the filing fee.

(quotation omitted) (holding that aliens failure to file a bar complaint against his
former counsel would not defeat his otherwise Lozada-compliant ineffectiveassistance claim where former counsel had reported himself to the bar). W hile w e
have not yet decided whether to extend the substantial-compliance doctrine to
Lozada, we have noted other circuits unwillingness to apply the doctrine when
two of the Lozada requirements have not been satisfied. See Tang v. Ashcroft,
354 F.3d 1192, 1196-97 (10th Cir. 2003), citing Gbaya v. U.S. Attorney Gen.,
342 F.3d 1219, 1222 n.2 (11th Cir. 2003) (stating that aliens fail[ure] to comply
with at least two out of three Lozada requirements . . . would not be in substantial
compliance with Lozada), Hamid v. Ashcroft, 336 F.3d 465, 468-69 (6th Cir.
2003) (holding that aliens failure to provide an affidavit and make a bar
complaint precluded substantial compliance), and Xu Yong Lu v. Ashcroft,
259 F.3d 127, 134-35 (3d Cir. 2001) (same).
M oreover, M s. Healey has failed to indicate how anything in the motion to
reopen served the purposes of an aliens affidavit and a disciplinary complaint, so
as to invoke substantial compliance under the Ninth Circuits view of the
doctrine. All we have before us are M s. Healeys reasons for not reporting the
untimely filing to disciplinary authorities: no complaint has been filed . . .
because the actions of counsel in this matter do not constitute gross negligence or
fraud and a complaint may result in a conflict of interest between [M r. Yero] and
counsel that would terminate counsels on-going pro-bono representation. Supp.

Admin. R. at 18; see also id. at 24 (M s. Healeys affidavit statement that

M r. Yero wishes me to continue to represent him on a pro-bono bais [sic]). As
observed by the BIA, an affidavit from M r. Yero would have been useful in
determining whether he was advised by [M s. Healey] of [her] error and his
alternatives and options as a result of [M s. Healeys] actions, and that he agrees
to continue [M s. Healeys] legal representation . . . in light of this knowledge.
Id. at 3. W e find the BIAs observation entirely reasonable. The information
required in an aliens sworn affidavit enables . . . the BIA to pre-evaluate the
bona fides of the [aliens] claim in [order to] determin[e] whether a hearing is
even warranted. Wang v. Ashcroft, 367 F.3d 25, 27 (1st Cir. 2004) (quotation
omitted; first alteration added). And by exposing an alien to the potential pains
of perjury, the affidavit requirement foster[s] an atmosphere of solemnity
comm ensurate with the gravity of the [ineffective assistance] claim[s], and serves
as a screening device whereby deportable aliens are discouraged from filing
dilatory ineffective assistance claims. Betouche v. Ashcroft, 357 F.3d 147, 150
(1st Cir. 2004) (quotations and citation omitted). The filing of a disciplinary
complaint serves similar purposes, as it fosters confidence in the validity of the
particular claim, reduces the likelihood that an evidentiary hearing will be
needed, . . . serves [the BIAs] long-term interests in monitoring the
representation of aliens by the immigration bar[,] . . . [and] acts as a protection
against collusion between counsel and client to achieve delay in proceedings.

M atter of Assaad, 23 I. & N. Dec. 553, 556 (BIA 2003). W e conclude that these
purposes are not served by counsels own view of the gravity of error committed
or by counsels representations as to the clients desire to maintain the law yerclient relationship.
Thus, even if we were to follow the Ninth Circuits formulation of the
substantial-compliance doctrine in the context of Lozadas requirements, the
doctrine has not been satisfied here. The BIA did not abuse its discretion in
rejecting M r. Yeros ineffective-assistance claim.
The petition for review is DENIED.
Entered for the Court

M ary Beck Briscoe

Circuit Judge